RailsRumble: Choosing the OS for VPS
The work begins before the contest: they’ve asked that we set up our VPS before the contest starts to avoid an enormous pileup at 12p EDT. Having watched the excellent smarticast re: setting up a Linode VPS, it’s easy to see that Linode’s got things pretty sweetly automated to handle that part. However, I’ve never been a serious Debian user or admin, so as much as I’d love to just follow the instructions, I have to balance that against my ability to debug esoteric system issues like the ones you can encounter installing RMagick … so I started asking around for advice.
This is where I should note that Linode has a wide array of choices with all your favorites, from CentOS to Ubuntu, as well as some less common (I think) choices like Arch Linux and ActiveGrid. Most of my Linux history splits between Slackware (early days) and RedHat (later and enterprise days), but have heard really good things about Gentoo for its flexibility, stability, and compact footprint. Talking with several smart people, I ended up choosing CentOS 5 as the Rails-production-proven OS which will require the least configuration work and provide the most comfort for me should things head south.
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